Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Law, Gender and Women at 2018 AALS

Wednesday, Jan. 3

3:30 pm How to Adapt Your Outreach Efforts, Admissions Process and Law School Community to Ensure Your Culture is Welcoming to Transgender and Gender Fluid Students

Moderator: Jay Austin, University of California, Irvine School of Law

Speakers: Robyn Brammer, Dean of Counseling and Social Sciences, Golden West College
Jeb Butler, Columbia Law School
Barbara J. Cox, California Western School of Law
Blake Liggio, Partner, Goodwin Procter LLP
Shaun Travers, Campus Diversity Director and Director of the
Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, University of California, San Diego

Each year the number of applicants, matriculants, and continuing students who identify as nonbinary, transgender, or perhaps along a wider vontinuum of gendered orientations increases. Has your law school adapted to attract these students? And during their enrollment, what affirming steps can your law school actively engage in to ensure their full participation? This session will bring together a unique group of individuals from the law school community, the legal profession, and undergraduate academic programs to discuss ways that your law school can welcome and support these students. This wide-ranging discussion will include thoughts on application gender questions, the use of preferred names and pronouns in the classroom, and other gender neutral affirming practices and policies.


Thursday, Jan. 4 

10:30am  AALS Open Source Program – Mainstreaming Feminism 

Moderator & Speaker: Brooke D. Coleman, Seattle University School of Law


Anastasia M. Boles, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, William H. Bowen School of Law
Linda A. Malone, William & Mary Law School
Elizabeth Y. McCuskey, University of Toledo College of Law
Elizabeth Porter, University of Washington School of Law

This panel presentation will take on a variety of subjects and examine their feminist implications. The panel will discuss papers involving business law, civil procedure, employment law, federal courts, and health law. The goal of the program is to de-compartmentalize feminism from other strains
of legal scholarship and inquiry by engaging scholars with interests independent of feminism and those with an interest primarily in feminism. What the panelists hope to ultimately achieve is a mainstreaming of feminism. Stated differently, the goal is to begin normalizing the consideration of intersectionality—including, but not limited to, feminism—within traditional legal scholarship to create a scholarly environment where this kind of inquiry is the norm and not just the panel regarding “other.”


Friday, Jan. 5

8:30am Rethinking Campus Response to Sexual Violence: Betsy DeVos, Title IX, and the Continuing Search for Access to Justice

Moderator: Hannah Brenner, California Western School of Law


    Mary M. Penrose, Texas A&M University School of Law

    Verna Williams, University of Cincinnati College of Law

    Cory Rayburn Young, University of Kansas School of Law

    Nancy Chi Cantalupo, Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law

    Ben Trachtenberg, University of Missouri School of Law

The Trump Administration recently revised the Title IX process addressing sexual violence on college campuses. These revisions, coupled with a Sixth Circuit decision finding due process protections lacking in a university’s Title IX hearing, underscore the importance of ensuring that both victims and accused receive access to justice following allegations of sexual violence. Against the backdrop of these and other current events, this panel considers strategies for rethinking the response from a legal access to justice perspective. As lawyers and legal academics, this topic is important to us, our students, institutions, and society as we strive to find balance between the rights of victims and accused. The voices on this panel offer diverse viewpoints regarding Title IX’s role in addressing sexual violence. Panelists will discuss necessary protections for those bringing claims of sexual violence to ensure fair resolution that causes limited harm to these individuals and their educational opportunities, and protections for those accused of perpetrating sexual violence, recognizing that consequences may extend far beyond the classroom. We challenge attendees to return to their campuses and respectfully engage one another to find meaningful solutions to an issue that, thus far, has failed to adequately guarantee access to justice for all.


10:30am ALUMNI RELATIONS & DEVELOPMENT TRACK, Engaging Women Graduates – A Donor Discussion

Moderator: Emily Mullin, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Speakers: Michelle Banks, Senior Advisor, BarkerGilmore LLC
Debbie Epstein Henry, DEH Consulting, Speaking, Writing; Bliss Lawyers

We all know that every journey begins with a single step, and this is especially true in the world of advancement. As we think of new ways to inspire and cultivate our donors, it is important first to consider how they would like to engage with the law school. As an example, alumni associations are increasingly engaging alumni through affinity-based programs, including both industry and cultural  affinities. Other schools are launching alumnae-specific networks to engage their female graduates in meaningful ways. In this session we will sit down with three law school alumnae leaders for a discussion about engaging women graduates, through programming and philanthropy, and will discuss their journeys from engagement to gift.


5:30pm Women's Leadership in Academia, sponsored by University of Georgia 

        Reception, panel, and roundtable discussion on advancing women law professors and administrators in leadership positions.


Saturday, Jan. 6

9:00am Women in Legal Education –Whispered Conversations Amplified 

Moderator: Kerri L. Stone, Florida International University College of Law


Marina Angel, Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law
Ann Bartow, University of New Hampshire School of Law
Meera Deo, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Angela Mae Kupenda, Mississippi College School of Law
Melissa E. Murray, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
Susan Westerberg Prager, Southwestern Law School

This program seeks to take what have traditionally been “whispered conversations” among women in the legal academy and amplify them by conducting them publicly and bringing them into the light. For too long, important issues unique to women in the legal academy have been discussed almost strictly among women who call one another after meetings, drop by one another’s offices, and pull one another aside in the hallways. This program seeks to de-stigmatize and include others in the discussion of issues like integrating feminism into one’s courses or scholarship, combating implicit bias in the classroom, and the unique challenges that women face when doing everything from assuming leadership positions to participating in faculty service and governance. A panel of senior professors, administrative leaders, and scholars who have thought or written about these and other issues attendant to being female in the legal academy will recount experiences, provide insight into the whispered conversations that they have had over the years, and inform a more public discussion that will normalize these issues and seek solutions.

Business meeting Women in Legal Education section at program conclusion.


10:30am Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues – Relationships Between Religious Exemptions and Principles of Equality and Inclusion 

Moderator: Jack B. Harrison, Northern Kentucky University, Salmon P. Chase College of Law


David B. Cruz, University of Southern California Gould School of Law
Louise Melling, Legal Director, American Civil Liberties Union Center for Liberty
Douglas NeJaime, Yale Law School
Shaakirrah Sanders, University of Idaho College of Law
Kyle C. Velte, Texas Tech University School of Law

U.S. law at all levels contains anti-discrimination provisions, designed to reflect principles of equality and inclusion. At the same time, areas of U.S. law reflect principles of religious accommodation and exemption, that are well ensconced in constitutional law. Yet religious rights and religious exemption laws have had a long history of conflict with anti-discrimination laws. The resolution of these conflicts has traditionally been that religious motivation did not generally provide exemptions from civil rights laws. This resolution, however, appears to be under increasing attack in recent years and the Supreme Court has modified that traditional approach with decisions such as Hosanna-Tabor and Hobby Lobby. This panel will examine these conflicts and explore how U.S. laws should best seek to achieve equality and inclusion for all.


2:15pm  Women in Legal Education Luncheon. Ticket price $75 per person.


1:30pm Women in Legal Education – Speed Mentoring


Also, there is a Nursing Parents Room available, a super cool app tracking the conference at Access to Justice, and a Twitter hashtag #AALS2018.

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